An International Survey of Clinicians' Experience Caring for Patients Receiving Home Parenteral Nutrition for Chronic Intestinal Failure During the COVID-19 Pandemic

JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2021 Jan;45(1):43-49. doi: 10.1002/jpen.2050. Epub 2020 Dec 22.


Background: This survey of centers caring for patients receiving home parenteral nutrition (HPN) was conducted to assess the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis on the management of these patients regarding provision of care, monitoring, regular follow-up, and any changes to service infrastructure.

Methods: A survey was devised and publically published on the Research Electronic Data Capture database management system, with individual centers responding to a public link.

Results: A total of 78 adult and pediatric centers worldwide contributed to the survey, representing ≥3500 patients' experiences. Centers reported infrastructure maintenance for Parenteral Nutrition (PN) bag deliveries to patients (60, 76.92%) or delivery of ancillary items (57, 73.08%), home delivery and HPN administration (65, 83.33%), and home care nurse shortages (25, 32.05%). Routine follow-up of HPN patients changed to either all telemed or mixed with emergency clinic review (70, 89.74%). In 26 centers (33.33%), HPN for newly discharged patients with benign conditions was reduced or stopped. Based on clinical history, the centers reported psychological distress for patients (52, 66.67%), with anxiety, worry, concern, and apprehension reported most frequently (37 of 52, 71.15%) but also fear (10 of 52, 19.23%), depression (5 of 52, 9.62%), and issues related to isolation/confinement (12 of 52, 23.08%).

Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic was reported by clinicians to have had a far-reaching adverse impact on patients receiving HPN, especially their safety in terms of provision of personal protective equipment, PN bags, available nursing staff, and psychological well-being. Healthcare systems responded to the challenge and presented new ways of working.

Keywords: chronic intestinal failure; coronavirus disease 2019; home parenteral nutrition; parenteral nutrition.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Intestinal Diseases / therapy*
  • Pandemics
  • Parenteral Nutrition, Home / adverse effects*
  • Patient Care
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • SARS-CoV-2